1,400 senior women in BC call us annually.
“The life I’ve lost.”
Those were Maryann’s words the first time we met her.
Maryann’s husband had recently died – a man who had viciously abused her since they were married when she was just seventeen. You can imagine how painful it was for Maryann to reflect on the happy, peaceful life he had robbed her of. And the harm he had done to her and her children.
Maryann told us that she wished she had found us earlier. She wished that she had known there were organizations like ours, and people – like you –who could help her.
Like many women of her generation, Maryann was financially dependent on her husband. They were poor, and the thought of trying to support her four children on her own was too overwhelming for her to flee to safety. But she couldn’t abandon her kids.
We wish we could tell you that Maryann’s story is rare. But it’s not. Nor is it rare for us to serve a woman of her age. In fact, that’s why we ask you to help stop violence against senior women.Maryann’s husband had already died when we met her. But 1,400 elder women reach out to BWSS each year because they are still living in an abusive situation.
Violence against senior women – also known as elder abuse – is very real. But this abuse is often invisible.
Let us assure you, we are working hard to shine the spotlight on this issue, and to get it out of the shadows. We know you are dedicated to ending violence against women. Will you help us protect and support our senior women, by making a donation today? You see, the abuse of senior women can take many forms – from physical violence, to neglect, to financial exploitation. But with supporters like you, we will be here to help another woman like Maryann.
Your gift today will provide a woman the support she needs to leave her abuser. And you’ll help us find her a safe and permanent place to live.
Your donation will also help us train caregivers. And educate the public about the signs of violence against senior women, and how to take action if they think a senior woman is being mistreated.
Abusers can be a woman’s partner, or caregiver, or even her own adult child. As women become more physically and mentally frail with age, they become even more vulnerable to abuse. And if they are being abused by one of their own children, it’s likely they still yearn to protect their child. To cover for them. They may fear losing that relationship. Or being left alone.
Tragically, Maryann’s husband also robbed her of her children. It’s hard to fathom (although not unusual), but Maryann’s oldest 3 children blame her for the way their father treated them.
Maryann’s oldest son drinks heavily, and is very abusive to her. Her daughter has been in a string of abusive relationships.
But this cycle of violence and pain does not need to continue. I believe that people like you and I can stop it.
That’s why Maryann is willing to share her story with you. “I want young women to know they don’t have to stay married if they’re being abused.”
She’s right. Your donations help women escape abuse. If you are blessed with an elder woman in your own life, who we are sure you love and cherish, will you consider making a donation in her honour today?
Our elders deserve peace and companionship. Respect and love. We wish all of our elder women were surrounded by compassionate people like you. But until that day, we’ll continue to be here for all the women who need help leaving their abusers. And, with your support, we will continue to demand that the violence stops here.
P.S. During Prevention of Violence against Women Week (April 18 – 24), we will seek to draw public attention to the issue of violence against senior women. On your donation form there is a list of ways to spot elder abuse, and how to report it. We hope you will be able to support this important work with a gift today – and we thank you for all your compassionate support.